Reviews for region 1 discs From Ultimate DVD #16

MANHUNTER
THE DOORS (SPECIAL EDITION)

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All Region 1 releases below are also reviewed in issue

The Abominable Dr Phibes
The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle
Bless the Child
The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover
Cutaway
Dr T and the Women
Enemy Mine
In the Beginning
The Jewel in the Crown
The Killing Fields
Lost Souls
Rear Window
Rope
Rugrats in Paris
The Silence of the Lambs
Urban Legends: The Final Cut
The Watcher
The World According to Garp
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MANHUNTER Rated: R
Will a new re-make better this original?

The Movie

One key factor links the celluloid adaptations of the Thomas Harris novels: the calibre of directing talent involved. In Manhunter it’s Michael Mann, who would later helm Heat, Last of the Mohicans and The Insider.

Making his mark on the first Hannibal Lecktor (sic) story (for which he also wrote the screenplay, based on Red Dragon), Mann presents a tour de force study of deductive reasoning. Meet Will Graham (Petersen), a brilliant criminal psychologist able to assume the mindset of a killer, and solve the most heinous of crimes. Retired after almost dying at the hands of Lecktor, Graham is persuaded to help solve the case of the ‘Tooth Fairy’, a madman who is invading the homes of families, and butchering them. By seeking advice from the incarcerated Lecktor (Cox), Graham comes close to the killer, but is he just as disturbed as those he seeks?

There’s a fierce intelligence at the heart of Manhunter, a film that focuses on the investigators, as opposed to the more grisly aspects of serial killers. In fact, Lecktor’s predilection for cannibalism is barely mentioned here. He’s merely a footnote in the story, albeit a memorable one, and Cox gives a more restrained yet equally memorable rendition of the bad doctor. Petersen brings a vulnerable intensity to the role of Graham, while Mann’s extraordinary use of angles – and incredible use of colour – assure images that remain in the memory.

It’s said that, given the box-office blitz of Hannibal, producer Dino De Laurentiis is looking to re-make Red Dragon, with Anthony Hopkins in the (presumably expanded) role of Lecter, and Julianne Moore in the (newly added) role of Agent Starling. Rest assured that, whoever is chosen to direct, the project has a long way to go before it comes close to matching 5 stars - Digital Dynamitethe quality of Manhunter.

The Extras

In addition to the standard edition, a limited run of 100,000 copies of a two-disc release have been issued. The main feature is a brilliant, wonderful transfer, although the 5.1 mix at times seems slightly hollow.

Extras include the trailer (2.35:1, anamorphic), which focuses on the sex and violence (when the film is really about the mind). And, would you believe it, the promo is Lecktor-free. What were they thinking? The Manhunter Look is a 10-minute interview with cinematogropher Dante Spinotti, which explores the film’s stark visual style – including Lecktor’s white cell. It’s an interesting piece, but should really have been a full-length commentary.

Inside Manhunter contains 18 minutes of interview material with Peterson (looking so different), Cox, Allen and Noonan. Enticing facts include the original choices for Lecktor (Brian Dennehy, Mandy Patinkin…), the reasons for the title change, and why a scene featuring Lecktor singing I Just Called to Say I Love You was cut. Excellent stuff.

Talent Profiles are comprehensive but sparsely illustrated, but the disc menus are impressive – rotating 360 degrees to focus on one of the lead characters. A 24-page booklet contains rare photos and is nicely presented as an FBI dossier, but the second disc is a washout. Containing just the director’s cut (which is merely three minutes longer!), the transfer is appalling grainy with faded colours, while the audio content is merely Dolby 2.0.3 stars - Worth A Watch

Credits
Anchor Bay's Manhunter DVD

Cast
William Petersen
Brian Cox
Tom Noonan
Joan Allen
Director • Michael Mann
Year • 1986
Duration • 121 / 124 mins
Screen Ratio • 2.35:1
Anamorphic • Yes
Audio • Dolby
Digital 5.1 / 2.0
Chapters • 30
Languages • English
Subtitles • None
Release Date •
January 30
Distributor •
Anchor Bay

 

Dr Lecter on DVD

After 10 years of silence, Dr Lecter is big business again. In just five weeks, Hannibal has taken over $150 million at the US box office, and went on to repeat its success in the UK, becoming one of the biggest non-summer openings of all time.

So, one might imagine, film-makers will have been quick to exploit the audience’s hunger for the serial killing cannibal. Think again. While Anchor Bay have demonstrated great foresight in releasing this special edition of Michael Mann’s Manhunter, the Criterion Edition of Silence of the Lambs has now been deleted in Region 1, and remains unreleased in Region 2.

Word has it that a new release of the latter film is on the cards, but surely the right time for such an enterprise is now? To satisfy Lecter fans Ultimate DVD has a full review of the Anchor Bay title, plus a new review of Silence of the Lambs. While this DVD is not in general circulation, eager buyers should be able to obtain copies from some shops and most Region 1 Internet services.

 

Highlight

Chapter 23  
Mind of a Maniac

Will replays the murder, and assumes the role of the killer

David Richardson

From Ultimate DVD #16

THE DOORS (SPECIAL EDITION) Rated: R

The Movie

Stone brings a perfectionist’s view of the history of Jim Morrison’s much-loved band to the screen. Every important moment is treated with the love and care of an obsessed fan, yet still rendered in an engrossing and enthralling way. As a result, The Doors is a touch self-absorbed, over-long and occasionally repetitive, but the perfect setting, spine-tingling music and Kilmer’s one and only outstanding performance 4 stars - Damn Good Discmake this a superb biopic.

The Extras

The standard featurette provides the low-down on the cast and crew and the timeless band they are portraying. For the real inside story, go straight to The Road to Excess, a superb 40-minute documentary which includes footage of The Doors in action, retrospective interviews with cast and Stone, who all reveal something worth knowing.

Fourteen deleted scenes totalling 43-minutes await just round the corner, which come with a nice little introduction from Stone. Cinematographic Moments is a textual lesson on how Stone and director of photogaphy Richardson captured the essence of the Sixties on film. Trailers and teasers, cast and crew and production notes pretty much speak for themselves. Finally Stone presents a quite laid-back commentary wherein he discusses some of the inner workings of Morrison’s thoughts during the scenes as they play out.

This is a dizzying compilation of superb material, which aside from the non-anamorphic transfer makes this release a must-buy for fans of The Doors, Oliver Stone, and 5 stars - Digital Dynamiteaccomplished movie-making.

Grant Kempster

Credits
The Doors Special Edition DVD

Cast
Val Kilmer
Meg Ryan
Director • Oliver Stone
Year • 1991
Duration • 138 min
Screen Ratio • 2.35:1
Anamorphic • Yes
Audio • Dolby Digital 5.1
Chapters • 35
Languages •
English
Subtitles • None
Release Date • February 20
Distributor •
Artisan

 

Highlight

Chapter 21  
New Haven 1968

A stunning stage performance by Kilmer as Morrison entertains the crowd and infuriates the local police.

Deleted scenes detailed in issue

From Ultimate DVD #16

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